26 Mar Home Schooling……need of an hour
Few learnings that Special needs parents had during and post pandemic
A) Inclusive schools are falling short on many domains
B) Child is learning only with one on one approach
C) Teachers are not equipped to work with SEN (Special Education Needs)
D) Therapies are making all the difference
E) SEN children require a customised curriculum and approach
Above points have left parents in a dilemma because they wish the best for their child and hence have possibly picked the best inclusive school, yet it’s not serving the purpose. While supporting the child during virtual school they realised that the rehabs kid is majorly supported academically as well as behaviourally by them, which means during physical school by Shadow Teachers or Educational assistant. At the same time also the fact that it is practically impossible for school teachers to adapt all makes to different teaching modules only for one or two SEN children in the class, this results in SEN (Special Education Needs) children missing out on basic understanding of concepts.
What are the possible solutions of the above realised problems in hand; we can think of two solutions and open to discussing any other. First option is special school, special school works out because the teachers are trained and aware of most of their issues. Also the student- teacher ratio is generally less hence one on one approach is also a possibility with customised curriculum. Lastly few schools also provide various therapies hence it becomes a one-stop solution and gives breather to working parents. However concerns with special schools are limited infrastructure, quality of teachers and therapists and lastly the possibility of Special needs children learning inappropriate behaviours from one and another. Not to forget the possibility of exact reverse happening to that happens in a mainstream school. To elaborate further, the school can underestimate the child’s caliber, could move way too slow to accommodate each child in the class or can make the child dependent with some support.
Second option is home-schooling, which is vastly spoken about post pandemic. Home-schooling means personalised curriculum planned and taught one on one to a child. Home schooling is not restricted to only special needs, it is a great option for inspiring sportsmen and artists as well. A neuro-typical child committed to making a strong future in a performing field has to practice and commit a significant amount of time in excelling on the field, it could be cricket, football or singing, photography, etc. We shall in this article speak about children with neurological conditions, as they have specific needs and fewer options available.
Pointing out in brief how it works and what it can bring to the table and how it can impact lives of kids with special needs. To begin with it is carried out by a special needs teacher, who may be a special educator by education; so along with education other areas like fine-motor skills, behaviour modification, communication skills and emotional regulation is included in the plan. The curriculum is planned after understanding the psycho-educational report of the child, hence the pace and depth of each topic is well planned. Timings of these sessions can be flexible as in at any time of the day to accommodate various other therapies/ activities. Not to miss, the home schooling hours are not as long as mainstream school hours. Behaviour, physical, sensory and cognitive profile of each child is accommodated while structuring the course and approach of homeschooling sessions. Choices of subjects are made as per child’s interest and possible future opportunities. Lastly parents are personally involved and observe the child’s overall development.
Before taking a call, a few common questions I come across are; which board can a child appear for exams through?, the answer is NIOS and IGCSE board. Next apprehension is social skills development, for which group therapies, group co-curriculum activities, activity centres or day care-centres are better options as the child is having a good time and actually socialising. Parents also wonder about affordability, for which I would say it varies from family to family, however can be equivalent to fees of an inclusive school plus shadow teacher plus a remedial teacher, in most cases plus school transport facility. Another relevant thought is; can a parent home-school their child? Yes!. That can always happen, just a small suggestion; do take some guidance or supervision, so that there is a structure with minimal bias.
While discussing on this topic with a fellow colleague, few other points highlighted were, in a home schooling setup the child will be more comfortable in a known surrounding and their behaviour concerns are reduced. Also from sensory aspect child is more regulated. It removes the stress of being in a classroom setup, there is less fear of being ridiculed, bullied or other social pressures. Child has more emotional freedom. Not to miss out a more flexible schedule keeps the whole family happy and in turn helps the child to be more productive.
Society looks at home-schooling as a taboo, which is why parents resist, well I see it as a privilege which was always and will be a status symbol. Apart from these one can have many other questions and apprehensions, which team Little Pods would love to know and discuss to our best potential.
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